Lai Chau

This small town is nestled in a beautiful valley carved from spectacular mountains by the Da River, and, with Tam Duong, is one of the lunch and/or overnight stops for people traveling between Dien Bien Phu and Sapa. Beneath Lai Chau’s beauty lies a difficult existence for locals. Despite a marked increase in tourist numbers, … Read more

Dien Bien Phu

Dien Bien Phu, the capital of Dien Bien Phu District of Lai Chau Province, is in one of the most remote parts of Vietnam, The town is 43km from the Lao border in the flat, heart-shaped Muong Thanh Valley, which is about 20km long and 5km wide and surrounded by steep, heavily forested hills. For … Read more

Son La

Son La, capital of the province of the same name, makes a good overnight stop for travelers doing the run between Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu. While not one of Vietnam’s highlights, the scenery isn’t bad and there is certainly enough to see and do to keep you occupied for half a day. The area … Read more

Mai Chau

This is one of the closest places to Hanoi where you can visit a ‘real’ Nontagnard village. Mai chau is rural with no town centre as such – rather, it’s a collection of villages, farms and huts spread out through a large valley. It’s a beautiful area, and most people here are ethnic White Thai, … Read more

Song Da Rivervoir

Stretching west of Hoa Binh is the Song Da Reservoir (Ho Song Da), Vietnam’s largest. The flooding of the Da River has displaces a large number of farmers for about 200km up stream, and is part of a major hydroelectric scheme that generates power for northern Vietnam. In 1994, a 500kV power line was extended … Read more

Hoa Binh

The city of Hoa Binh (Peace), which is the capital of Hoa Binh province, is 74km southwest of Hanoi. This area is home to many hill-tribe people, such as the H’mong and Thai. Hoa Binh is a stop on the long drive towards Dien Bien Phu via Mai Chau. The town is situated on the … Read more

Hai Phong

Playing for High Stakes A military general and one of Vietnam’s greatest heroes, Tran Hung Dao (1226-1300) three times defeated the Mongol warriors of the Chinese army as they attempted to incade Vietnam. His most famous victory was at the Bach Dang River in northeastern Vietnam in 1288 where, copying the military strategy of Ngo Quyen … Read more

Con Son & Kiep Bac Temple

Highlights · Cruise the emerald waters of Halong By and explore some of the 3000-plus islets and grottoes of this magnificent Unesco World Heritage site · Relax on the beaches of Cat Ba island, or trek through its scenic and untames national park. · Discover the lakes, revers, waterfalls ans caves in Ba Be National Park from the … Read more

Halong Bay

The majority of food, accommodation and other life-support systems for Halong Bay are to be found in Halong City, the capital of Quang Ninh province and Vietnam’s latest sin city (the number of signs advertising ‘Thai Massage’ gives a good indication of the size of the prostitution market). In more recent years this once-peaceful outpost … Read more